MISSOURI STATE HIGHWAY PATROL
a division of the
DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY
Public Information and Education Division - PO Box 568 - Jefferson City, MO 65102
For further information please contact: Capt. J. Tim Hull
April 3, 2014
EMPHASIS: Missouri State Highway Patrol: Spring Brings Varying Temperatures, Flooding, Hazards For Motorists & Boaters
Colonel Ron Replogle, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, would like to remind the public that spring brings varying temperatures and weather patterns, which can bring challenges for motorists and boaters. One area of concern is flooding, which affects safety on both the waterways and roadways. Flooding, due to the recent heavy rains, has proven to be extremely dangerous and could be fatal.
The Patrol also asks boaters across the state to take extra precautions when boating in flooded areas. Large amounts of rainfall cause rivers and lakes to become swollen. Many times the right decision is to stay off the water. In areas where lakes or rivers spill over the banks, erosion and damage can occur to flooded structures, docks, or water laden levees by boat wakes. Boaters should avoid operating in these areas. If operation in these areas is necessary, boaters should operate at idle speed so as to avoid causing a wake.
Flooded rivers and streams with moving currents present some of the most dangerous situations a boater can encounter. Fast moving water can easily capsize or flip a boat—or personal watercraft—especially when combined with fixed objects such as trees and buildings. Boaters should avoid any operations in these swift flowing waters.
Many lakes and rivers across the state have only seen routine increases in water levels. It is for the safety of the public and to minimize damage to property that the Highway Patrol requests boaters avoid waterways that have been impacted by the most severe flooding.
For their safety and that of their passengers, drivers are reminded to stay alert while driving in areas known to flood. Barricades closing a roadway are there to protect you. Drivers must respect barriers or barricades put in place by MoDOT — it is extremely dangerous and a violation of state law to drive around them.
Never drive through fast-moving waters; even a small amount of fast-moving water can sweep a slow-moving vehicle off the roadway. If your vehicle becomes stuck in rising water, get out quickly and move to higher ground.
Motorists should remember that spring’s widely varying temperatures can leave roadways or bridge floors covered with frost. Even though roads appear to be clear, it is important to slow down and watch for slick areas, especially early in the morning. Temperature changes also cause fog to develop. Drivers need to slow down, turn on their headlights, and be prepared to stop in foggy conditions.
Weather conditions requiring the use of windshield wipers are usually those that affect visibility. Motorists are reminded that state law requires them to turn on their vehicle’s headlights any time they are using the windshield wipers. It only takes a second to turn on your vehicle’s headlights. But, that second could make you more visible to other drivers and prevent a traffic crash.
Drivers need to be aware of farming equipment in the spring. Tractors and other wide farm implements will be traveling down rural roads. Drivers are encouraged to be patient, slow down, and give these pieces of equipment room on the road. If you plan to pass a slow-moving farm implement, do so wisely. Never attempt to pass on hills or curves. Also, check for a “driveway” on the left before passing. A farm implement moving to the right may be preparing for a wide turn, rather than allowing you to pass.
Spring weather brings more traffic to the roadways, as people begin taking advantage of Missouri’s many recreation areas. Watch for changes in traffic patterns caused by the increase in the number of drivers on the road. One of the traffic patterns changes to watch for is an increase in motorcycles, bicycles and pedestrians. In nice weather, joggers are more common. Also, children are likely to walk or ride their bicycle to school. Stay alert!
In support of "The Drive To ZERO Highway Deaths,” the Patrol encourages motorists and watercraft operators to protect themselves by making sure everyone in the vehicle is properly restrained in a seat belt or child restraint and everyone in the vessel is wearing an approved life jacket. Click It 4 Life And Wear It!!